Posts Tagged ‘Newark Airport’

Hello Snowflake

February 25, 2010

Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been? I’ve been at the airport, under the machine… So, Newark Airport had another security mishap at around 6:30 Tuesday morning, during a busy rush hour security check, causing a woman and her young daughter to miss their flight to Florida and other passengers were directed to another X-ray machine to complete their security screenings. Here’s what happened: the Florida-bound woman and her daughter were traveling with their cat, who I’m going to name Snowflake because it’s a cute name for a kitty. When the cat, sorry, the 25 pound cat (?) was removed from it’s carrier so it could go through the X-ray machine, Snowflake freaked and made a mad dash for safety, right underneath the console of the 2,000 lb CTX machine underneath 4″ of space. Officers tried reaching for it from underneath, but Snowflake was too smart for them and squirmed out of their reach. So, the only thing left to do was to bring in the heavy artillery, a hydraulic spreader to lift one end of the machine to free the cat. The woman was thankful, but stressed out and planned to return yesterday for another attempt at her trip. A 25 pound cat? My beagle weighed 25 lbs. How about a cat measurer, like they have for carry on luggage: if your cat’s too fat he can’t go on the plane. Or at least maybe a leash on the animal next time, huh? There are enough things to keep an eye on that slip by during security screening than to worry about a…25 pound cat?

Speaking of snowflakes–and I bring this up because it’s the  perfect tie-in to the pending 12″ we’re supposed to be getting between today and tomorrow–is it true that no two snowflakes are alike?   I’m old school and it was part of my learning ever since I was a kid. It just comes naturally to say that no two are alike. It kind of keeps a little sense of magic alive in an otherwise jaded existence these days. So many factors go into making a single snowflake; air temperature and humidity levels. There are 14 stages of snowflake formation and if you want to see them, you can click here. Simply put, each individual flake is made up of about 180 billion water molecules and even in the improbability of two looking alike, their molecular structure would be different. But then there’s the side of argument that offers that the amount of snowflakes that have fallen since time began is estimated to be (a very large number) 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 per year, globally. Multiply that by the all the times it was ever cold enough to snow and the answer, according to this article is that it’s virtually impossible that no two snowflakes have ever looked alike. I’ve never conducted my own experiements–okay, once, but they kept on melting–so I really can’t say. I’m going with no, that they’re all different. I’m keeping the magic.

It’s kind of like pondering how many people in the world yawned this very second (not counting you, even after reading today’s blog), and to that end, how many people in the world are wondering that very same thing at the same time.

And now let’s see how many people are reading the newts opinions on last night’s Boys’ Night on American Idol.


One Last Rant For The Week

February 19, 2010

The rumor is true, it’s Friday, and thank God it got here when it did. What a week it’s been, too, from unexpected computer issues, which I’ll get to in a second, to having my head virtually served to me on a cyber platter, which I will opt to not revisit just now. And now, later this afternoon, I have to see NOT my doctor. The last time I had seen my regular doctor, ashamedly almost two years ago, he had given me my Diovan prescription with refills enough to last me through the year until I was to see him again, which was last May. But since I take only half a pill daily, it lasted me well past that. Well, I ignored the reminder card last May and I was in danger of running out of my medication (this past Sunday to be exact) so I made an appointment, but it’s not until May. They approved a small supply to last me until I see this practitioner today so I can get a quick exam and a new prescription to get me through till May. That’ll teach me!

The computer issue is probably a combination of the fact that it dates back to the two tin cans with a string days and that the external UPS battery backup fizzled on me. I was lucky it came back to life earlier in the week, but last night it happened again and I couldn’t bring it back to life, so now the floor of my office is a tangle a 3,000 foot extension cord so the computer can be plugged into another outlet until I get that other one, and it’s own tangle of wires, taken care of.

So, did you hear there was another security breach at Newark Airport. On President’s day a man was flagged for secondary screening when the initial X-ray showed what looked like 3 bottles of wine. Given the restriction of only 3 ounces of any liquid being allowed on the plane, the man was referred to another screening but he walked away, disappearing into the crowd. Security screening was halted for ONE hour while an attempt was made to locate the passenger, who, TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis says apparently boarded his plane. That’s real nice!

Here’s an idea, how about an escort for those passengers that need a secondary screening to make sure they get where they’re supposed to go? Or how about keeping an eye on someone standing right in front of your security podium who you might suspect might have something on his mind? Is it that these security officers don’t get paid enough to care? What if it was a member of his or her family whose life was in jeopardy on a flight because someone with a bottle of wine slipped through security or someone just had to give his girlfriend a good-bye kiss? How about a mandatory 3 day sequestering of all passengers at a high security facility inside the airport so they can all go through extensive searches and make sure their noses are blown and their morning rituals are taken care of? And random searching is for the birds because the guy you skip, could be the guy with the bomb.

Okay, I’m done ranting for the week. I wanted to end this week on a positive note and I have just the thing. My friend Jim, a founder of the organization Dare To Care, which you can link to from my blogroll on the right, is also busy publishing a christian themed magazine. It’s not one that crams religion down your throat, but it concentrates on the christian side of a variety of aspects. It’s called InnerVoice and in four short months, it already is slated to go national. I helped him out with a subscription–my check is in this morning’s mail–and if you want to help him out as well, to help him spread his word, his love of humanity, you can click on this InnerVoice link, go to the About Us tab and then to the Contact Us tab and click on the sample subscription form and print it out. To press the issue, it’s someone’s dream (remember yesterday’s blog) that’s coming to fruition, and that’s a good thing!

I have a fun weekend to look forward to. Tomorrow we have a matinee of The Miracle Worker on Broadway to go to. Good that it’s post our weekly weigh-in because we’re going with friends and that can only mean one thing; carousing and debauchery will surely follow the theater!

Have a great weekend!

We Interrupt This Blog

January 11, 2010

First of all, the Newark Airport security breacher, Haisong Jiang from Piscataway, NJ, a doctoral student at Rutgers University, was arrested Friday night and charged with defiant trespassing, for ducking under the security cordon to accompany his girlfriend to her flight. The defiant trespassing charge stems from when Jiang, after being asked by the security guard (as seen in the video) to move away from the secure area, (according to the article I read) returned there after the guard left his post. So, there, mystery solved. Right now it looks like Jiang will receive a “slap on the wrist” and a $500 fine. I think every one of the inconvenienced passengers that had to be rescreened during the 6 hour delay should have a whack at his wrist!

I think my cold is finally better. It’s still hanging on, I’m still all stuffed up, but I don’t feel a groggy and dragged out as I was feeling for the better part of last week.

This past weekend I got another review for “Mightier Than The Pen”.  It comes from a woman my father loaned his copy to who is in his Goldwing group. You can see it on the “reviews” page  under “The Novel” tab on my website. Also, for those of you new to my blog, the first chapter is also available in  “A Peek Inside” under the same tab.

Originally today was to be the start of the next chapter in the McGinty Chronicles, but time got away from me and I didn’t realize that tomorrow is the start of American Idol and I’m happy to report, taking the seat of the late Commander, who helmed the position of persnickety purveyor for two seasons, is  a brand new, 2-man team brought in to report on the shenanigans. They feel they’re qualified to take over such a momentous task.  You can meet them by clicking on their link button at the end of today’s blog.

Todays’a big day in NJ. Not only is the State House going to vote on in-state tuition fees for illegal aliens, but that seat belts must be worm by everyone in your car. And they’re hoping to pass a bill that would enforce the driver of a car to stop before hitting a pedestrian in a cross walk, as that is their “safety domain”, but also when encountering an errant jaywalker, the driver must also stop. But to be fair, the law will also state that a pedestrian can’t run into traffic. I would almost think that’s just common sense, but I guess not because we actually need a law against it. Hmm.

So, without fail, McGinty will start up again next week. I just didn’t want to give you so much to deal with on a Monday. In the meantime, let me introduce you to the new American Idol team. And spread the word, especially if anyone you tell is a literary agent or publisher or someone who knows one.


January 5, 2010

I was going to put up pictures from the parade today, and I was going to work on them last night, but I was too much a zombie from this cold I got suddenly to do anything about it. And I slept in this morning and that left me with no time to sort through all of them. So, I need a raincheck until tomorrow.

I did, however, want to weigh in on that Newark Airport security breach before it gets to be too old of a story. It just galled me when I heard about it, as I’m sure it did the rest of you, especially on the heels of that Christmas day bombing attempt.

The guy walked the wrong way through security and disappeared into the crowd? Really? Of course, I don’t work there and maybe it’s not as simple as it would seem, but why didn’t they just grab him and rectify the situation right there and then? You would think there’d be eyes all over the place, and I don’t mean cameras with monitors in remote locations, to handle such goings on. Do you mean to tell me they don’t have the manpower to do anything other than look in one direction? I mean, come on, they got people stationed all over the place making sure you discard your bottle of water. So, for that snafu, an entire terminal filled with people had to be delayed for up to 6 hours and rescreened before things could get back to normal. And then it was announced the guy had left the airport, or, rather the terminal, 20 minutes later, according to an eyewitness who saw him. WHAT?! WHAT?!  And here’s the punchline. The lockdown occurred two hours after the “incident”.  So, was the lockdown an ultimate band-aid?

In the meantime, on the way into the arena for the Fancy Brigade show at the Convention Center in Philly, everyone was subjected to a search and pat down. Purses and assorted bags were being sorted through with flashlights and long sticks to flick things around inside and the pat down, at least the one I got (and it was only men getting patted down) was done with the security guard’s wrists, with his palms facing outward and at the waist and under the arm. I guess they’re trained to feel for things, but what can you detect using your wrist? Not a very thorough search in my book. Was it just to satisfy the mandate that people will be searched entering public buildings? What if the camera in the inside pocket of my coat, which fell between those two check points, was an explosive device? Or the tube that houses my teeny tiny reading glasses I carry in my shirt pocket was holding some sort of something?

Tomorrow there will be pictures of the Mummers and I’m working on another sort of tirade for you. See you then.

It’s Planely Ridiculous

December 22, 2009

Here’s one for you. Last night, on a news brief between television shows, there was an item that rather put our backs up. The government, just yesterday, ordered airlines to let passengers off planes that are delayed on the ground for more than three hours. They can’t hold passengers hostage with no food, water or bathroom facilities. Yes, it took the government, not the company to whom you pay through the nose to fly, to check in a second bag even…to pay for a friggin’ pillow to rest your head,  to realize that’s a no-no. Of course the airlines are poo-pooing (no pun intended) that idea because they say having to return a plane to a gate to avoid a significant fine would only cause more delays and would be inconsistent of achieving their goal of completing as many flights as possible. Oh, and by the way, as a sort of call back to yesterday’s blog, the three major airports in the New York area; Newark, JFK and LaGuardia are the country’s worst offenders for late departures, hence one more piece of the puzzle in the low stature on the happiness scale.

Whoops, before I forget, it’s Baby Picture Monday on Tuesday and that’s me at 5. Look at that thin-lipped smirk. There’s something going on in that head of mine, I can see it in my eyes. I have a feeling I was up to no good.

It’s not your eyes, Donna, I did put snow on the blog. Cool, no? It’s hard to see against the white background, but you can see it real well after a few seconds on the picture I put up yesterday of the big bush by the corner of the house and it looks like it’s still snowing.

Here’s a bit of a sad story and one I think has no chance of a positive outcome.  17 families want to dig through a closed Staten Island landfill because the ashes of the remains of their loved ones might be in there. A lawyer for the city of New York, Jim Tyrrell, urged a federal appeals court to leave the landfill alone, even if it does contain the ashes of 9/11 victims stating that “These ashes are undifferentiated dirt,” echoing the words of Judge Alvin Hellerstein, who, a year ago, when he ruled that the families had no standing to sue the city, argued that nearly 1,100 victims perished without leaving a trace, that they had been incinerated in the intense raging fires or pulverized into dust by the massive tons of collapsing concrete and steel. Normal Siegel, the lawyer for the 17 families argues that it’s “disrespectful to call it dirt when it’s remains.” He also pointed out the 223,000 tons of the material was never sifted. While work continues to identify the nearly 20,000 human remains that were uncovered, the families’ attorney says they want the material in the landfill moved to a another site where it can be properly buried. Faced with a civil action against the city, Judge Barrington Parker asked the attorney how the city could be considered to have shown a deliberate indifference in this horrible unprecedented situation. His answer: “Your loved ones on top of garbage. That’s the deliberate indifference” and continued his argument that this dirt could be used to fill a pothole. 

Of course it’s hard to say if I would feel differently all these years later had I suffered a loss of such magnitude, and I count my blessings I didn’t, but I think it’s best to abandon this crusade. I realize, for some, it’s a last ditch desperate attempt at closure (I hate that word with a passion) to this nightmare, but the endless, and probably fruitless searching would be even more devestating.

Finally, there is more  news on the Eric Williamson case, the man who was seen making coffee in the nude. He’s been found guilty of indecent exposure but the judge did not fine him or put him in jail. He maintains he had no intention of “exposing” himself at 5 o’clock in the morning to those who crossed his yard at that hour. A seven-person jury will rule on the propriety of Williamson’s domestic nudity in February. So, stay tuned.

Here are a few more pictures from the snow we had the other night, all thumbs. Click on them and they’ll open.